Sweet Baby Ray’s® Original Barbecue Sauce Copycat

Almost as Easy as Opening Sweet Baby Ray’s Bottle!

Today I got out pork spare ribs to cook for my son. Immediate problem…no barbecue sauce in the refrigerator….no homemade canned barbecue sauce left on the shelves. Yes, it was official…Casa Colleen was OUT OF BBQ Sauce…oh boy. Few things constitute a “state of emergency” like being out of one of my son’s favorite sauces.

But I had worked on a recipe for you good folks like Sweet Baby Ray’s Gourmet Original Barbecue Sauce recipe. Not happy with my first round of gastronomic laboratory testing, I decided to give it another whirl and put it aside for future playtime. Looking at my earlier notes, I changed around a few things. The barbecued pork received Two Thumbs Up and would make Sweet Baby Ray proud (although probably not happy he lost my three dollars). This sauce does freeze well. Since I am sure it has no oils/fats, I am going to test how well it dehydrates for BBQ powder/rub as well.

The instructions are simple for Baby Ray’s. “Remove cap, pour on SBR, and taste the flavor upgrade.” Well mine is almost as simple… Dump all ingredients in slow cooker, cook sauce, pour or brush on cooking/roasting/grilling meat, cook through to taste, and enjoy!

UPDATE: someone commented on the amount of sugar in this recipe and although I knew it was way less than in the bottled version, I went ahead and ran the ingredients through the FDA’s Nutrition Tracker at www.SuperTracker.usda.govPeople are often shocked, in my experience, to find out what is really in those foods they buy off the shelf. This comparison was no different <evil grin>.

Baby Ray’s carbs are 17 grams (70 calories) per 2 tablespoons.
My recipe: carbs are 10 grams (40 calories) per 2 tablespoons.
(see nutrition panels below).

Barbecue Sauce-Sweet Baby Ray Copycat

Makes 2 quarts (8 cups)

1 (28 ounce) can tomato purée*
2-1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup dried onion, chopped
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2-1/2 tablespoons ground mustard powder
2 tablespoons mirepoix powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1-1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon lemon powder or 6 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper powder

*Or 1-1/3 cups tomato powder + 3-1/2 cups hot water


  1. Pour all ingredients into a 4 quart slow cooker. Stir thoroughly to mix all ingredients.
  2. Cook on High for 1 hour. Stir well.
  3. Cook on Low for 1 more hour.
  4. Pour or brush on cooking/roasting/grilling meat, cook through to taste, and enjoy!

Nutritional Comparison

What is your favorite brand of Barbecue Sauce?

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7 thoughts on “Sweet Baby Ray’s® Original Barbecue Sauce Copycat

  1. Maria says:

    Colleen, Can you can this?

    1. Admin says:

      No, this recipe has not been tested for safe canning Maria.

      1. Maria says:


  2. birderrose says:

    I made this BBQ Sauce yesterday and put it on our ribs, then baked them. It turned out sooooo delicious!!! I will be making this sauce from now on instead of buying Sweet Baby Rays.

    1. Admin says:

      I am so glad you enjoyed it! SBR is my son’s favorite, so when I got a thumb’s up from him I knew we had nailed it. 🙂

  3. nsadewater says:

    Colleen, I haven’t made tomato powder. What would be used for the tomato puree- tomato sauce?

    1. Admin says:

      Yes, you can use tomato sauce 🙂

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